The Evolving Advertiser-Agency-Publisher Value Chain

on June 10, 2015


The digital revolution has placed new demands on the fragile relationships that exist between advertisers, their agencies, and the publishers that provide the audiences and the channels for messaging.

Digital campaigns have provided new opportunities and new means to reach consumers and deliver targeted content and messaging, but the nearly limitless choices and flexibility related to the timing, placement, and formats of digital ads have added multiple layers of complexity and have introduced inefficiencies into operations that support digital marketing initiatives. There are now dozens of intermediaries between advertisers and publishers, causing the value chain to increasingly transition into a complex web of relationships, technologies, and solutions. Complexity aside, the fundamental organizational changes that needed to be made so as to take advantage of digital advances never happened. Instead, change happened more incrementally, and it revolved around tuning outdated processes (not reinventing them), retooling employee skill sets (with minimal investment in training), and implementing technologies (without a comprehensive approach to integrating tools and building the appropriate infrastructure).

In fact, survey after survey points to breakdowns in processes, growing inefficiencies, and huge amounts of time spent on heavily manual, low-value, or no-value tasks.

Organizations have spent more time devising workarounds rather than building scalable and flexible operating models that would be adaptable to digital advances. With so many inefficiencies accumulating in structures, processes, and tools, how are organizations going to fully realize the potential of the new digital capabilities? How are they creating value and adapting to nearly continuous fast-paced change? Regrettably, many aren’t.

Theorem works with dozens of organizations – both large and small – that have a hodgepodge of technologies, clever workarounds, and inefficient processes that require significant amounts of manual work. In the area of data and analytics alone, many of our clients are seeking that silver bullet for big data, but many more are manually consolidating their data, uploading and downloading data, manually pulling and formatting reports, and entering data the old-fashioned way. The practices are just not sustainable.

When it comes to the transformation of operations, it’s time for executives to consider their roles as change agents in their organizations and to start leading the fundamental changes that have to occur in order to compete.

To take advantage of new digital business opportunities, a company’s leaders must embrace the digital imperative and set a clear operational agenda that strikes the right balance between building in-house capabilities and infrastructure and partnering with service providers for greater agility.

A best-practice-based approach is crucial if organizations are to embed efficiencies into their operations, gain benefits through unified technology platforms, develop more-strategic relationships across the value chain, and optimize processes and organizational structures so that the result is a sharpening of their ability to continually adapt to fast-paced change.

Kara DegeorgisThe Evolving Advertiser-Agency-Publisher Value Chain